May 31, 2020
by Roger Raiche David McCrory, Planet Horticulture
Many of our Planet Horticulture clients found out just how great having a garden and attractive landscape means during the Shelter-In-Place period. One client mentioned how wonderful it was to go out and try to identify flowers and insects with her child. Another client became a newly minted horticulturist gardener himself. Others found great joy and grounding in their outdoor home gardens. Food gardeners never felt so rewarded to be growing their own. I found that just focusing on small projects every few days kept me motivated and created satisfying results that continue to please. The earth, flowers, bounty, and beauty can be very healing.
Our business, Planet Horticulture, was part of phase 1 reopening in May. As we move into the summer months, there are so many essential things to do in our gardens. Minimizing excess flammable vegetation, as the dry season is upon us, is critical to prepare for fire season. Plants proliferate in spring, seemingly relentlessly, pruning should be tackled incrementally, so it’s not overwhelming if you’re doing it yourself. Chores provide focus and can give satisfaction once accomplished. If the project is too large, and you can afford to, hire a licensed landscape contractor to assist you.
Well, the last few months have certainly given us a prolonged time to evaluate our landscapes. Many have found creative ways to enhance what their gardens give them. Now that we are out of the extreme SIP restrictions, we have more leeway to address more significant issues in our landscapes/gardens. Tree pruning/removal, broader scale grading issues, new hardscape, or overgrowth removals can all get the attention they might need, with more open landscape work protocols. It will still be prudent in the coming months to realize we are not over this yet, and best practices in interacting with anyone else makes sense. As of writing this article on May 20, Sonoma County had a recent spike in new cases. Follow best practices for reducing the spread of COVID.
But during the more restrictive times, how did our homes and yards help us? It is a great time to analyze, because we may never be in this situation again, or maybe we will indefinitely. What did you like about your yards/gardens/landscapes? What do you wish you could change? If you had others using the space, what did they want/need? Since, likely, this virus is not going away anytime soon, let’s think about how to create our new normal outdoors.
Since hygiene has assumed added prominence in our lives, you might think about easy ways to wash your hands outside so you don’t have to touch a half dozen handles to get to a sink. This simple change could add enormously to the convenience of your life outdoors. The outdoor sink can be a place to clean fruits and vegetables, too, or a quick source of drinking water. The sink can link to a small, well-designed utility area — tool storage, tables for setting produce down or potting up plants, etc.
It is conveniences like these that make your space more user friendly. And it can be practical. Since almost all medical experts predict we might be in for another severe spike in fall/winter, what is the one thing that you’d like to have in place if your need to spend more time at home again? The first wave caught most of us unaware or uncertain what it would mean to stay at home — but now we have a much more realistic understanding. Planning could save us a lot of grief and offer more amenities if we strategize, and then create what we want. These updates could also serve long into the future!
There are so many additions that can make your time outside more varied and or comfortable; furniture, decks, flat spots, hot tubs, roofed garden structures, screened enclosures, fire-pits, forts for kids, etc. Sometimes you might just want to reorganize your spaces — you found the vegetable garden way down in the far corner wasn’t very convenient. Opening a game/play area, trails, hiding spaces, and such are often easy fixes and adds more potential for activities. Consider bringing in a landscape contractor, like Planet Horticulture, t o make your garden more cohesive and productive for you and your family.
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